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“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed just not the body, but the soul” – Alfred Austin
This quote perfectly sums up why I love gardening. And in these unprecedented times, my passion for it has never had so much importance for my wellbeing.
In reality, I’m a Paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service, a husband and a father. I’ve seen the devastating impact that social distancing is having in the wider community and also within my own home: with two children whose friends are the most important thing in their young lives.
But alongside my family and my job, gardening has always had a special place in my heart – one of my first memories is the smell of marigolds in my grandad’s garden. This interest was nurtured by my parents who would always be pottering around cutting back roses or, in my dad’s case, climbing up a precariously balanced ladder to trim the conifers!
My hobby eventually became my living for a number of years and I was lucky enough to work at the Chelsea Flower Show several times with a number of different designers, including Joe Swift. But enough of me…we’re here to talk about using gardening as a tool to improve wellbeing through fitness, relaxation and mental stimulation.
I know some of you reading this may not have a particularly big garden or even a garden at all. But any space, be it a wall, window-sill or balcony, is a place that a plant, fruit, or vegetable would love to share with you. I’m a big believer in recycling and using everyday items that you may not necessarily think have their place in a garden and, in these blogs, I hope to provide you with some ideas and inspiration for simple projects that let you get creative and have fun with gardening – in whatever shape or form that takes for you.
My garden is by no means perfect and is always a work in progress. No matter who you are, gardening is a case of trial and error – my not-so-flowery flower meadow being the perfect example! But perseverance is the key and the fruits of your labour will provide so much joy to you and, if you’re growing veg, to your belly too!
We’ll cover all aspects of gardening – from soil preparation to sowing, planting to dead heading, harvesting to preparing a lovely salad. I’ll also share some tips that I’ve picked up over the years, which I hope you’ll find useful, along with some jobs you can be getting on with between blogs.
We might not be able to get out of the house like normal right now but our gardens are the perfect way to enjoy fresh air, exercise and a much-needed distraction from these weird times we’re living in.
So, let’s get out there, stick our hands the in the dirt, get our heads in the sun and when our family and friends can finally visit again, they can marvel at the beauty we’ve created during this lockdown.